The news from Sudan has never been more worrying. The hope for democracy has faded in the wake of the military coup last year, but people are resilient. When I first went to Sudan what struck me was their humanity and their care for each other. During that first visit my son Alastair and I made to Um Ga’al, the village that became the first Kids for Kids’ village, I asked if there would be jealousy if we supported the poorest families, providing them with five goats, a donkey, and other basic essentials – things that people could only dream of in the extreme poverty in which they lived? The village leaders said “if you support the poorest, you will help us too, by taking the burden of helping them off us – please do what you can”.
And for twenty years, thanks to you, we have been doing just that. Doing all we can to help the poorest families – and therefore helping everyone living in all the villages we have adopted. Goat’s milk has been improving the health of the children. Water near at hand from our handpumps means that not only do children go to school, instead of walking miles every day for every drop the families need, but the old people are also spared that terrible struggle day after day. And vegetables are growing in our villages.
We have trained hundreds of midwives – my admiration for these brave young women is boundless. The lives they have saved – young girls no longer forced to endure FGM – births, and deaths, registered – the happiness of a healthy baby – how can one quantify that? Thankfully fewer orphans, children lovingly cared for by their own mothers, no longer at risk from dangerously obstructed labour. I think of parents sleeping without worry as their little ones are no longer wracked with coughing in the smoke of fires trying to keep them warm – two simple blankets and chest infections are fewer.
More people die in Sudan from malaria than from any other disease. Our mosquito nets make such a difference. I’m told that the incidence of malaria in our villages has dropped by two thirds.
But that is not all! Climate Change – can we help?
Yes we can and since 2007 and we have been doing just that! We plant trees – hundreds of them! We have had failures, but over the years we have learnt how to grow trees in the desert! And now the animals are returning. Yes – truly. Because of Kids for Kids. It is hard to believe, but I was told that rabbits and foxes have been seen in our community forests. Animals that have not been seen in North Darfur for decades. I saw two hornbills during my most recent visit.
You too CAN help combat Climate Change – read how and donate a tree here!
But 2022 is going to be one of the most challenging we have faced.
Already the UN is warning of exceptional humanitarian need – they say 1 in 3 people will be facing starvation. That is truly shocking. Across the whole of Sudan people are struggling to survive. Chillingly, when things are bad in the country as a whole, they are worse in Darfur. Violence, since the military coup last October, has escalated. Hundreds of people have fled their homes. The harvest is 25% of what it should be in many parts. I am already planning emergency help. Your donations ‘for the greatest need’ are going to be needed more than ever before. But we will also adopt five villages this year – 2,842 children – I wish it could be more – and I am waiting to hear how much a new kindergarten will cost as education is essential. There can be no hope for the future if we let the children down.
The political situation is more worrying than I can remember, but of course we cannot, must not, give up. Kids for Kids is helping the poorest of the poor – people the rest of the world overlook, forget, ignore. But we do not. These are families like us, with the same aspirations for their children. And thanks to the dedication of the Darfurians themselves, who volunteer to serve on the Kids for Kids Steering Committee in El Fasher, overseeing all our projects, I know that every pound you donate will reach those in need of our help. We are supported by wonderful people in Khartoum and Darfur and, especially in this time of hardship, when conditions have never been worse, I cannot thank them enough for enabling our projects not only to continue, but to help more people this year than ever before.
I have not mentioned Covid-19 – but yes, that too is ravaging Sudan. We continue to give soap, to give hope. And we must not stop planting trees. The future is in our hands, for us too.
We cannot help everyone in need – but you are helping us to transform many lives and as those leaders said so long ago to me ‘By helping the poorest you are helping us too’. Please don’t stop!
Our motto continues to be ‘One goat at a time’ – and that means, One Child at a Time – please.
Patricia Parker OBE – Founder.
2022 Spring Mailing Documents (all in one place!):
Tragically, the news in Darfur is that in some parts there has been no sign of rain and the intense heat continues, in others there are floods which are washing away the seedlings that people have had to already plant.
I’m sure you know that Darfur is the size of France, so you can understand the extremes. The result, of course, if this continues will be starvation for families who have no way of diversifying from their subsistence crops. It gives you an indication of the importance of animals and in the extreme conditions of Darfur, goats are the ones we can rely on when all others fail.
It has been such a worrying year with so many catastrophes combining to cause extreme hardship. Many families have been forced to eat the seed they had saved.
We are therefore appealing, in addition to all of our much-needed projects, for emergency seed to enable families to plant so that they have something to feed their families in 2022.
But it will be months before any harvest and meanwhile, children are hungry.
This is why our goats are so important. Their milk is indeed a life saver.
During this time of year in Darfur, the air is tense with anticipation.
The desert is devoid of all plants, shrubs and other greenery. Families plant what seed they have leftover from the previous year – if any. Many families have to eat the seeds to get through the year.
Now they wait for the rains to come – hopefully July.
Whilst rain will bring fresh hope for a successful and bountiful harvest there is the threat that too much rain may come and wash away the seeds and even their homes and livestock – flooding is a real threat. When houses are made of straw they stand little chance of survival when the rain is torrential as happened last year.
It is during this time that our water pumps are vital to the people in Darfur, despite the hot dry summer they still have access to fresh clean water from below ground.
In the awful event of flooding – our water pumps are more important than ever – despite water being everywhere, floodwaters will be contaminated and unsafe to drink or even wash in.
Because of your support, communities have a water supply they can rely on. Parents do not have to worry about giving their children dirty water to drink, risking sickness and disease.
With inflation still soaring the cost of drilling for water is at an all-time high but there are still hundreds of villages that do not have access to clean water.
Many women and children are spending their days trekking through the scorching desert to fetch enough water for their families. For some, the walk is 20 miles. It is hard to contemplate.
We are so grateful for everything you have helped us achieve these past 20 years but there is still so much more to be done.
Can we rely on your support to help more families in need? Water is the key to life.
Murra is a mother to 9 children. In 2017 she was chosen by her village to receive support through the Kids for Kids projects. She received 5 goats as part of the goat loan programme, a donkey to help transport water and till the land and also 2 blankets and mosquito nets to protect her children from cold nights and insect-borne diseases.
This is just part of the package that Kids for Kids provides to many families in need. People are so poor they cannot afford even basic essentials. Kids for Kids makes sure individual families have proper farm tools, an essential when people eat what they grow. But it doesn’t stop there. Kids for Kids helps the whole community long term by providing both health care for the people and veterinary care for the animals. Water is key, and wherever possible Kids for Kids funds handpumps and other water projects.
Four years after Kids for Kids adopted her village, Murra’s goat herd has grown to 23 animals. Her children are growing up healthy and strong because of the milk from the goats and the good news doesn’t end there – as a result of being given a donkey, Murra was able to make use of a donkey plough provided for Murra and two other women. She was able to cultivate three acres of land, growing two sacks of millet, a sack of groundnuts and also six sack loads of hay for her animals.
Murra and her family are expecting an even bigger harvest this year, as they were able to farm 5 acres plus they are growing melons and okra!
This is what Kids for Kids is all about – supporting children, women and their families to create a future that is teeming with hope and opportunities. By providing such simple but powerful projects, families and whole communities are able to build a better life for themselves – this is what life should be like for all people in Darfur!
Murra’s story is just one of the hundreds of success stories that Kids for Kids has witnessed over our 20 years – but we are only able to carry out such important work because of our generous supporters. We are only able to reach out to people like Murra because of the support from people like you!
Murra is looking forward to the future and now with a better harvest and money earned from selling goats milk and yoghurt, she is planning on sending her children to school!
There are hundreds of more mothers like Murra who deserve our help and support to give them the opportunities to raise themselves and their families out of poverty.
Are you able to help more mothers and girls earn a brighter future?
Darfur is in the Sahel region of Africa which is particularly vulnerable to climate change and according to the UN, the temperature in this region is expected to rise by between 3⁰C and 5⁰C. These warmer temperatures lead to a degradation of the land and an increase in desertification resulting in the desert encroaching into agricultural land. Climate change also impacts the length and timings of seasons, therefore, having a negative effect on crop growth, leading to food insecurity in the area.
The people here bear the brunt of the whole planet’s carbon emissions.
However, a big part of Kids for Kids’ range of sustainable projects that improve the lives of children in Darfur, Sudan, is our climate change project.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to prevent desertification and land degradation is to stabilise the soil. Planting trees and plants increases the soil moisture in the area, stabilises the soil. It has also been scientifically proven that planting trees helps to form a microclimate in the immediate vicinity of the trees by reducing the air temperature. Lowering the temperature of the soil means that more moisture remains within the ground creating a better and more fertile environment for growing crops, the basis of people’s income and diet in the villages of Darfur.
The people here are subsistence farmers meaning that caring for the land is of paramount importance as they eat what they grow.
We want to create a community forest in each of the Kids for Kids villages to counteract the effects of climate change. We will purchase and grow seedlings of various trees that are native and drought-resistant with many of the species providing shade and fruit or other bi-products that the communities can use to earn an income, such as oil from the Neem tree, the leaves, fruit and seeds from the Baobab and the seeds of the Moringa tree can be used to filter water!
Because many smallholder, rural farmers depend on subsistence for their livelihoods we believe that focusing on alleviating the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and desert encroachment protects these farmers and their communities from current and future vulnerabilities.
A community forest is just the start of our work on tackling the effects of climate in the area – we want to teach children the importance of the forests, so they grow up to nurture the wildlife and help it grow and expand. This will be the legacy of Kids for Kids and we hope that the children of the future will continue in the guardianship of the trees in their community.
Will you help us in our mission to Heal the Desert with Trees?
Next week from the 19th to the 23rd April, we are participating in Global Giving’s Climate Action Campaign where all donation up to £70 will be matched by 100%!
The situation in Sudan is still desperate. Inflation is still soaring and is now at an all-time high of over 350%. Life is hard for the people in Darfur, as food prices continue to soar so does the level of hunger – our help has never been needed more. To add to this, Covid-19 is still ravaging the country.
Village Midwives and First-Aid workers that have been trained thanks to you, our loyal and generous donors, are on the frontline helping to tackle the virus and the challenges it brings to each community.
Kids for Kids Project Officer Hassan Mehisi says ‘The situation in many villages is very hard and life is difficult. Our Midwives and First-Aid workers play an enormous role in fighting the pandemic, they help villagers tackle the enormous challenges of addressing the health impact of Covid-19’.
Our Midwives and First-Aid workers are delivering babies and providing support despite the threat of Covid-19 – helping to provide advice and educate new mothers and their families on how to protect themselves – there is no access to healthcare in villages – the Midwives and First-Aid workers we train are very much pioneers doing a fantastic job miles away from any support or hospital.
You can support mothers and babies by helping to train more Midwives and First-Aid workers – these are the Florence Nightingales of Darfur – a beacon of light and comfort in the most desperate of times.
It costs Kids for Kids £2,000 to train a Village Midwife and to provide her with a smart white tobe (sari uniform) and leather sandals. Incidentally, leather sandals are a status symbol in Darfur! If you would like to contribute to the training of a Village Midwife please donate the amount you choose and we will add it to our Midwife Fund. We also fund the equipment for both our Village Midwives and First Aid Workers, plus a fast and strong crossbred donkey so they can travel more easily between the villages. It is important too to make sure there is a solar lantern so that mothers will not give birth by the flickering light of a fire. There is no electricity in villages.
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Will you help us bring healthcare in the form of Village Midwives and First Aid Workers to the many villages that are in need?
Animal Welfare is very important to Kids for Kids and in every one of our villages, even the children are trained to look after the goats and donkeys!
The Children’s Shepherd Committee are taught to look for injury or disease in all of the villages animals, making sure they have the right food to eat and enough water to drink!
The committees are made up of both girls and boys and members are chosen by the whole community and they work closely with the Kids for Kids team in Sudan reporting any sick or unwell animals.
The children grow up having the knowledge to give their animals the best life and also gain important skills that will help them in their adult life!
Isn’t it lovely to think that every Friday morning – the first day of the weekend in Darfur – our Children’s Shepherds’ Committees in every Kids for Kids’ village inspect every animal in the village to see if they are alright. Children are really observant. We train them – teaching them the signs to look for. Hair coming out means too little water. When the herd stands up, ones that are slow need checking. And of course, we teach them which plants are poisonous. When animals are hungry, and especially goats, they can eat things that can kill them.
We reward our little shepherds in each village when we have our review meetings each year. Can you imagine how proud they are?
Kids for Kids is celebrating the incredible news that we are adopting 6 new villages in North Darfur, Sudan in our 20th Year.
Gawhir, Hillat Anass, Hillat Hashab, Maagila, Tartoura Birket Jaro and Taitel will be part of the Kids for Kids family in which our sustainable projects will change the lives of over 1100 families and 3700 children – giving hope for the future in these most desperate of times.
Whilst we aim to adopt new villages every year, the uncertainty due to Covid-19 as well as crippling inflation in Sudan which is now over 350%, the prospect of offering support and then falling short meant that we were facing this year being the first in our 20-year history of not providing help to villages in need.
Amongst the villages chosen, the circumstances vary with 3 of the villages’ nearest water supplies being 12km away, meaning a daily 24 km round trip for children and women to collect enough water for family and livestock alike, a trek that will take many hours in the blistering heat of the Sudanese sun. Whilst some villages may have access to water none has access to any healthcare for humans or their animals. Few have any education at all for younger children, and older children frequently walk 10 miles to reach a rudimentary schools. These are struggles the people of Darfur go through that we take for granted every day!
However, this is about to change with Kids for Kids working with the six new communities themselves to implement our range of sustainable projects of which the goat loans are key. A family chosen by their village will receive 5 nanny goats that will provide nutritious milk to feed hungry children and turn their health around. Excess milk can also be sold to earn an income – giving a family hope for the future. Other projects include installation of water pumps and water carts, training midwives to deliver healthy and happy babies, the training of first aid workers and paravets but also building kindergartens to give children an education – a direct route out of a life of poverty.
Kids for Kids’ Founder and CEO Patricia Parker says “The most heart-breaking issue is that all the villages chosen have suffered the death of at least one child in the past year, mainly due to Malaria – this is totally unacceptable in this day and age and providing blankets and mosquito nets to families is one of the first things we do when supporting a village, protecting children from insect-borne diseases.”
“The number of requests from villages asking for our help has never been greater and whilst we are aware that we are unable to help everyone it doesn’t make the decision any easier – behind each village application are struggling families and hungry children, but for these new villages, we will turn this around and provide opportunities which could only be achieved because of the generosity of Kids for Kids supporters!”
Over the 20 years of the Charity, Kids for Kids has supported 106 villages and helped over 550,000 people – but there are still hundreds more villages, thousands more children who are in need.
This year Kids for Kids are asking people to take on a Challenge20 to raise funds and have fun!
What will your Challenge20 be? Hiking 20 miles? Running 20 marathons? Baking 20 cakes?
Kids for Kids celebrates 20 years of helping the forgotten children of Darfur on 8th March this year – two decades in which we have transformed the lives of over 550,000 people in 105 villages in one of the most inaccessible places in the world. A journey that started with a young boy’s seven-hour walk for water across the deserts of Darfur, to a handpump miles from his home.
Whilst this may seem like a time to celebrate, it is a stark reminder that in Darfur our help is still needed. There are still young children and families with no access to clean, fresh water.
The situation in Darfur is still desperate, inflation has skyrocketed to over 250% and is still rising.
This has put our projects at risk – the cost of implementing our key projects has jumped massively. The need for water has always been a necessity but since the arrival of covid-19 into Darfur, the only way communities can protect themselves is by washing their hands. This means that families need more water than ever to keep their families safe. If there are no water pumps locally this means that more journeys for water are needed – either that or forego the only protection that they have against the virus.
Our team on the ground in Darfur has said that our water projects are falling behind schedule. This is due to the cost of installing water pumps increasing day by day. Some of our villages that we adopted in 2017 were due to have their water pumps installed last year – however, work has slowed as materials, transport costs and labour have all increased astronomically.
The current economic climate in Sudan and the uncertainty of costs has meant that Kids for Kids has had to hold off promising new water pumps to villages in case we cannot deliver – access to fresh clean water should be a given in the 21st century but unfortunately, that’s not the case in many areas of Darfur.
Whilst we will celebrate the change that Kids for Kids has brought about for so many people over the past 20 years – we will remain steadfast in our support for the people of Darfur but we can only do this with your help.
Please will you support Kids for Kids so we can carry on improving the lives of children now and for the children of the future?
The people of Darfur are struggling to feed their families as food prices soar. The Sudanese economy is in crisis, with inflation increasing from 144% in July to a massive 167% in August. The Sudanese Government has declared an economic state of emergency.
Soaring prices mean that people in Darfur are unable to afford to buy basic staples to feed their families. At the same time recent floods have washed away thousands of homes, leaving people homeless. All deliveries to the area are disrupted. The hardship families are facing every day is unimaginable.
Widespread flooding means that moquitoes are breeding frighteningly fast so that malaria is on the rise. Children already suffering from malnutrition are even more at risk – the situation is becoming more dire every day. Meanwhile, as in the rest of the world, COVID-19 continues to spread.
We are calling on our supporters to help by donating to Kids to Kids to support families through this difficult time.
Donate now for the greatest need and your donation will be used where it is most needed in Darfur today!
Text FLOOD 5 or FLOOD 10 to 70470 to donate £5 or £10 to provide soap and mosquito nets.
Texts cost £5 or £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 or £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text FLOODNOINFO 5 or FLOODNOINFO 10 to 70470.
Last week (27th April) there was a massive fire that swept across Um Hagalig, a desperately poor village which we adopted in 2007. People have lost everything. 150 huts were burned to the ground, over 160 goats and 16 donkeys were killed. Much of the village is totally destroyed. Fires are a major hazard in Darfur at this time of year because everything is tinder dry – and the huts and the fences are made of straw. Once a fire takes hold, all people can do is to run for their lives. It is a miracle that only one person died. But this is not the only fire – in Afein Village two families lost everything, in Majoub A – which I visited so happily in February – 22 families are now homeless and in Fardal, three families are in need of help. On May 7th we were informed of a fifth fire in Um Oshra Village which has burned 61 huts to the ground – and the primary school. Kids for Kids adopted Um Oshra in 2008, and they had been doing so much better, with brick walls to their houses and a new primary school. Families in all villages affected have lost all their possessions, their savings and their animals – it is heartbreaking. And there is no one to help them – except us.
It is hard to take in the news of another tragedy on top of all that is devastating people’s lives in Darfur right now. As we feared, the first COVID-19 cases have now been identified in Darfur. When I returned from Sudan in February my fear was starvation for children – already they were only having two sparse meals. As the heat increases to over 50 degrees and the walk for water becomes longer and longer, it was starvation that I was going to appeal for you to help me with. Then the virus had become the urgency – and I knew that soap had to be top of the list – if only I could provide everything. To think now of the despair of the families. It is just impossible to imagine what families in these five villages must be going through as they deal with this recent blow. We are very sorry to share that the fire has killed one person, a 65 year old woman named Maryam in Um Hagalig Village, who had worked to help her community for years. Our thoughts are with Maryam’s family, and everyone in Um Hagalig, Afein, Majoub A, and Fardal villages at this time.
Every two years, since Kids for Kids adopted Um Hagalig Village in 2007, families have passed on goats from the original Goat Loan so that more and more families have benefitted directly. Our Kids for Kids Steering Committee Chairman, Adam Sabil, immediately set off to visit the village as soon as we heard the news. The loss of animals in the fire is absolutely devastating for Kids for Kids – but imagine what people must feel to know their animals, their often sole source of income, have perished. People love their animals and it was because they keep them close at night – though there is no danger from wild animals in Darfur because of the loss of trees and vegetation – that so many died. What hope do they have now? Many families had saved up money from selling crops and milk and yoghurt at market, and been able to buy basic household goods, bed frames, and more. Extra cash would be hidden under their mattresses, burning up in the fire. Everything is gone now. With 150 huts destroyed in Um Hagalig alone, hundreds of people are left with nothing – no bed, no food, no jerrycans, and nowhere to go.
“Adam has assessed the urgent need. We will be providing goats, donkeys, a mattress, blankets, mosquito nets (the rains are desperately needed but they bring mosquitos, and malaria – the biggest killer, until the virus, in Darfur) cooking utensils and jerry cans. All are urgently needed right now. Please help by donating here.
It really puts in perspective how bad things are in Darfur.The whole world is dealing with COVID-19 but families living in dire poverty at the forefront of global warming, have it so much worse. Could you imagine a devastating fire right now, tearing down your house, where you are supposed to be isolating? It is truly unimaginable. We have to help immediately. It just isn’t right.”
– Patricia Parker MBE, Founder and CEO
Kids for Kids is currently using funds raised to fund ourUrgent Appeal for Soapfor villages so people can wash properly and prevent COVID-19. We are also continuing to provide our long-term sustainable projects to all our villages at this time. This means we need to raise more money, and urgently, to help families immediately who have been left with nothing. We are hoping to have a store in the future of urgently needed items so we can help even more quickly when disaster strikes. We have also ordered an investigation to find out how we can help villages with fire prevention going forward. In the meantime, please can you help us help families right now?